1 The Montreal Convention: Can Passengers Finally Recover for Mental Injuries? McKay Cunningham ABSTRACT Since the 1920s, recovery for accidents suffered on international flights has been subject to the Warsaw Convention s limitation of bodily injury. To address perceived inequities stemming from this limitation, some courts invoked a liberal interpretation of the phrase bodily injury, and the resulting and fragmented judicial precedent threatened the treaty s goal of international uniformity. Although Warsaw s long-awaited replacement, the Montreal Convention, retains the bodily injury language, a close study of the treaty s history and, more importantly, the negotiations among the signatories delegates suggests that the great majority of nations intended to broaden the allowable recovery beyond strict bodily injury and that many had in fact already interpreted the phrase to include mental injury. Furthermore, the policy informing the new treaty substantively changed from protecting the airline industry to protecting the passenger. As a result, courts faced with claims under the Montreal Convention must undertake a materially different analysis from those courts that addressed similar claims under the Warsaw Convention. Staff Attorney, Supreme Court of Texas; Former briefing attorney, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; J.D. 2000, Baylor Law School. Contact the Author at 1043
2 1044 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION II. WARSAW S HISTORY III. FRAGMENTED CASE LAW A. Before Floyd B. Floyd C. After Floyd Bending Over Backwards Refusing to Bend at All Bent out of Shape IV. THE MONTREAL CONVENTION A. Broader Recovery: The First Pass B. Broader Recovery: The Second Pass C. Broadsided and Passed Over D. Broader Recovery: A Passing Hope E. Broader Recovery Passed By V. CONCLUSION I. INTRODUCTION Since 1929, recovery for accidents suffered on international flights has been limited to bodily injury. Although the 1999 Montreal Convention retained the bodily injury language, a close study of the treaty s history and, more importantly, the negotiations among the signatories delegates suggests that the great majority of signatories intended to broaden the allowable recovery beyond strictly bodily injury and that many signatories had already interpreted the phrase to include mental injury. As a result, courts interpreting bodily injury under the new treaty should closely review the intent of the signatories before adopting the previous treaty s precedent. Eighty years ago, when dignitaries prescribed a uniform law to govern international commercial flights, prophylactic measures were necessary to encourage growth in a nascent and dangerous field. As a result, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, commonly known as the Warsaw Convention, adopted a protectionist policy designed to limit air carriers potential liability in the event of accidents. 1 Of course, this 1. Andreas F. Lowenfield & Allan I. Mendelsohn, The United States and the Warsaw Convention, 80 HARV. L. REV. 497, (1967).
3 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1045 policy did not inure to the benefit of the passenger. Even when Warsaw allowed recovery, the damages were conservatively capped. 2 Several international conventions in the past half-century strove to dilute the seemingly draconian measures that truncated recovery when a passenger suffered grievous injury on an international flight. One such limitation on passenger recovery stemmed from Article 17, which allowed recovery for death or bodily injury. 3 In light of Warsaw s pronounced protectionist policy, 4 courts have interpreted bodily injury to exclude mental, emotional, and psychological injury. 5 Under this framework, an airline employee could molest a minor, hold a gun to a passenger s head, racially discriminate, defame, or slander without fear of liability. 6 If a pilot deliberately flew through a hurricane resulting in an extended near-death experience, a passenger could recover for a bruised arm, but not for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Perhaps cognizant of this apparent inequity or uncomfortable with the task of categorizing a personal injury as either bodily or mental, U.S. courts began allowing recovery for mental injury in some circumstances. Outside the plain meaning of Warsaw s text, and thus, without guidance from the treaty itself, the decisions varied widely. Some courts only allowed mental injury recovery when it flowed from, or was caused by, bodily injury. 7 Others awarded mental injury recovery when it was associated with, or occurred in close proximity to, bodily injury. 8 Still others allowed it without any concomitant bodily injury. 9 After the Supreme Court addressed the meaning of bodily injury in Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd, 10 a majority trend emerged: recovery was permitted only for mental injury that resulted from bodily injury. However, this trend also spawned aberrant results. For example, a passenger assaulted by an airline employee could recover for a scratch on the arm but not for psychological damages stemming from molestation, unless the passenger could prove that her mental injuries derived from the scratch rather than the assault. 2. Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air art. 22, Oct. 12, 1929, 49 Stat. 3000, T.S. No. 876 [hereinafter Warsaw Convention]. 3. Id. 4. Lowenfield & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at See infra Part III.C See infra Part III.C See infra Part III.C See infra Part III.C See, e.g., Husserl v. Swiss Air Trans. Co., 388 F. Supp. 1238, (S.D.N.Y. 1975) (allowing recovery for mental injury when there was no physical injury). But see Rosman v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 314 N.E.2d 848, (N.Y. 1974) (refusing recovery for mental injury when there was no manifest bodily injury) U.S. 530 (1991).
4 1046 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated, passengers who suffered psychological injuries that did not flow from physical injuries had no recourse: To the extent that such plaintiffs are left without a remedy, no matter how egregious the airline s conduct, that is a result of the deal struck among the signatories to the Warsaw Convention. 11 In 1999, representatives from 121 states convened in Montreal, Canada, not to amend Warsaw, but to replace it with a new international treaty. 12 Recovery for mental injury in the absence of accompanying physical injury was a primary objective and was listed as a condition to the United States participation. 13 Although a clear majority of states voiced approval for mental injury recovery, the new treaty somehow retained the 1929 Warsaw limitation of bodily injury. 14 Part II of this Article presents a history of the Warsaw Convention, including the international community s repeated but largely ineffective efforts to modernize the treaty. Part III examines the divergent analysis and results reached by several courts interpreting the bodily injury requirement. Part IV studies the negotiations among the delegates at Montreal and suggests that the new treaty broadened the scope of passenger recovery even though the old text remained unchanged. II. WARSAW S HISTORY In 1925, two years before Charles Lindbergh s transatlantic flight, a global system of liability governing international flights was conceived in Paris. 15 Non-military, commercial air travel was relatively rare, and the forethought implicit in aspiring to global uniformity distinguishes this early effort. In Warsaw, four years later, thirty-two nations agreed to the Warsaw Convention. 16 The United States was not a member of the League of Nations, which 11. Carey v. United Airlines, 255 F.3d 1044, 1053 (9th Cir. 2001). 12. See 1 CHARLES F. KRAUSE & KENT C. KRAUSE, AVIATION TORT AND REGULATORY LAW 11:13 (2d ed. 2002) International Civil Aviation Organization, International Conference on Air Law (Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air), Montreal (May 10 28, 1999), Minutes, Doc DC/2, at 44 (2001) [hereinafter Montreal Minutes]. 14. See Letter of Submittal of Strobe Talbott (June 23, 2000), reprinted in Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, S. TREATY DOC. NO , 1999 WL , at *16 17 [hereinafter Talbott Letter]. 15. Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Franklin Mint Corp., 466 U.S. 243, (1984). 16. See Warsaw Convention, supra note 2.
5 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1047 produced the treaty, and had neither voice nor vote, but agreed to its terms in The Warsaw Convention sought to unify the rules governing international air transportation and provide standard documentation for international transportation of freight. 18 Notably, a primary goal was to limit air carrier liability: 19 [I]n 1929, the parties were more concerned with protecting air carriers and fostering a new industry than providing full recovery to injured passengers In the first half of the twentieth century, air travel was viewed as dangerous, and the developing commercial industry required legal protection to ensure growth. 21 Absent willful misconduct, if an international flight crashed, killing all on board, claims were limited under the Warsaw Convention to a maximum of $8,300 per passenger. 22 Moreover, Warsaw prohibited punitive damages. 23 The treaty cast a broad net. In general terms, it applied when (1) an accident (2) resulted in death or bodily injury (3) while en route, embarking, or disembarking on an international flight See Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * See Lowenfeld & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at E. Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd, 499 U.S. 530, 546 (1991) ( [T]he primary purpose of the contracting parties to the Convention [is] limiting the liability of air carriers in order to foster the growth of the fledgling commercial aviation industry. (citing Trans World Airlines, 466 U.S. at 256)); Minutes, Second International Conference on Private Aeronautical Law, October 4 12, 1929, Warsaw 34 (Robert C. Horner & Didier Legrez trans. 1975) [hereinafter Warsaw Minutes]. 20. Floyd, 499 U.S. at 546; see also Lowenfeld & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at ( [S]uch limitation will afford the carrier a more definite and equitable basis on which to obtain insurance rates, with the probable result that there would eventually be a reduction of operating expense for the carrier.... (quoting Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Message from the President of the United States Transmitting a Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules, SEN. EXEC. DOC. NO. 73-G, 3 4 (1934))). 21. See Trans World Airlines, 466 U.S. at ( The liability limitation was deemed necessary in order to enable air carriers to attract capital that might otherwise be scared away by the fear of a single catastrophic accident. (quoting Lowenfeld & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at 499)). 22. Warsaw Convention, supra note 2, art. 22; see also Lowenfeld & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at ; Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * See, e.g., In re Air Disaster at Lockerbie, Scot. on Dec. 21, 1988, 928 F.2d 1267 (2d Cir. 1991), cert. denied sub nom. Rein v. Pan Am. World Airways, Inc., 502 U.S. 920 (1991); In re Korean Air Lines Disaster of Sept. 1, 1983, 932 F.2d 1475 (D.C. Cir. 1991); Floyd v. E. Airlines, Inc., 872 F.2d 1462 (11th Cir. 1989), rev d 499 U.S. 530 (1991); In re Air Crash Disaster at Gander, Newfoundland, on Dec. 12, 1985, 684 F. Supp. 927 (W.D. Ky. 1987); Harpalani v. Air-India, Inc., 634 F. Supp. 797 (N.D. Ill. 1986). But see In re Hijacking of Pan Am. World Airways, Inc. Aircraft at Karachi Int'l Airport, Pak. on Sept. 5, 1986, 729 F. Supp. 17 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) (holding that a finding of willful misconduct permits recovery for punitive damages), rev d, In re Air Disaster at Lockerbie, 928 F.2d 1267 (2d Cir. 1991); Hill v. United Airlines, 550 F. Supp (D. Kan. 1982). 24. Floyd, 499 U.S. at ; see also Shannon Clark Kief, Annotation, Recovery for Emotional and Mental Injury under Warsaw Convention, 196 A.L.R. FED. 221, 235 (2008).
6 1048 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 While judicial interpretation has vacillated somewhat, 25 Warsaw s broad reach has traditionally been coupled with exclusivity; thus, the terms of the treaty prevented passengers from bringing claims under any other law. 26 For example, if a passenger s death on an international flight fell within Warsaw s ambit, recovery was limited to $8,300 regardless of whether local law would allow further recovery or related claims. Spurred by World War II developments of larger, more capable aircraft, global air transportation had grown considerably by Several Warsaw signatories, including the United States, moved to increase the damages cap to approximately $16,600 and to modernize the air freight documentation system. 28 But the United States never signed what became known as the 1955 Hague Protocol, 29 and it took eight years for the necessary thirty countries to sign thereby ratifying the Protocol. Additional amendments to the Warsaw Convention seven in total reflected the international community s repeated attempts to modernize the original agreement. In 1965, dissatisfied with the liability limits, the United States threatened to denounce Warsaw but withdrew notice of denunciation when all major foreign and U.S. carriers privately agreed that accident victims on flights to or from the United States could receive compensation of up to $75,000 per passenger. 30 Such inter-carrier agreements were facilitated through 25. Cf. Brown v. Eurocopter S.A., 111 F. Supp. 2d 859 (S.D. Tex. 2000) (holding that applicability of federal Death on the High Seas Act to litigation arising from helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico precluded plaintiff s claim under state law). Compare El Al Isr. Airlines, Ltd. v. Tsui Yuan Tseng, 525 U.S. 155 (1999) (holding that Warsaw Convention precluded passenger from maintaining an action for damages under local law when claim arose out of an international flight), with Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., 516 U.S. 217 (1996) (holding that Warsaw Convention provides a pass-through, authorizing courts to apply the law that would govern in the absence of the Warsaw Convention). 26. See, e.g., El Al Isr. Airlines, 525 U.S. 155; Croucher v. Worldwide Flight Services, Inc., 111 F. Supp. 2d 501, 504 (D.N.J. 2000); Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Christophel, 500 S.W.2d 409, 411 (Ky. 1973). 27. The Second World War was a powerful catalyst for the technical development of the aeroplane. At that time, a vast network of passenger and freight carriage was set up, but in order for air transport to support and benefit a world at peace, there were many obstacles, both political and technical, to overcome. Memorandum from the International Civil Aviation Organization on its Objective and Organization 2 (2008), available at 28. Lowenfield & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at , The United States purportedly failed to ratify the Hague Protocol due largely to the inadequacy of the proposed liability limits. See Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * See Lowenfield & Mendelsohn, supra note 1, at ; Order of Civil Aeronautics Board Approving Increases in Liability Limitations of Warsaw Convention and Hague Protocol, Agreement CAB (May 13, 1966), reprinted following 49
7 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1049 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 31 and proved to be a useful, although piecemeal and temporary, tool in updating Warsaw. Another attempt to amend Warsaw, the 1971 Guatemala City Protocol, featured an amendment that would impose liability on the carrier for an event which caused the death or injury of a passenger. Importantly, injury was no longer modified by bodily. 32 But the amendment was not ratified by the United States, as another effort to amend Warsaw the 1975 Montreal Protocols absorbed the Guatemala City effort. 33 The 1975 Montreal Protocols incorporated an increased liability cap that was part of the Guatemala City Protocol, replaced the gold standard with an artificial currency conversion, and updated Warsaw s cargo documentation provisions to facilitate electronic commerce. 34 Again, the United States did not ratify any of the Protocols, 35 even though its delegates signed two of the four measures. 36 Such repeated attempts and failures to modernize the 1929 Warsaw Convention spurred the IATA and the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) 37 to cobble together private voluntary agreements among air carriers. In 1997, the Department of Transportation approved certain IATA and ATA inter-carrier agreements, effectively superseding the previous liability cap of $75,000 per passenger set by the 1966 inter-carrier agreements. 38 In addition to eliminating the damages cap altogether, the new intercarrier agreements held carriers strictly liable for up to approximately $135,000 in proven damages. 39 As a result, any passenger who suffered an accident while en route, embarking, or disembarking from an international flight could recover up to U.S.C (2000), available at usc_sec_49_ notes.html. 31. Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * See Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S. 392, 403 (1985). 33. Several key provisions of the Guatemala City Protocol were incorporated into Montreal Protocol No. 3. See Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * See id. 35. The United States eventually ratified Montreal Protocol No. 4, relating to the air cargo industry, in Provisions governing that industry had not been updated in almost 70 years. See id. at * See id. at * The International Air Transport Association is an international trade body created in the 1940s by a group of airlines. Today, the IATA represents approximately 230 airlines responsible for ninety-three percent of scheduled international air traffic. See IATA Fact Sheet, (last visited Sept. 27, 2008). The Air Transport Association of America is a trade organization of the principal U.S. airlines. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than ninety percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. See About ATA, (last visited Sept. 27, 2008). 38. Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * Id.
8 1050 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 $135,000, provided the carrier was a signatory to the new intercarrier agreements. By May 1999, more than 120 international carriers comprising over ninety percent of international civil air transportation had signed the inter-carrier agreements waiving Warsaw s arbitrary damages cap. 40 While a decided step forward in modernizing Warsaw, 41 the inter-carrier agreements were not universal, 42 constituted mere contractual agreements without the force and effect of an international treaty, 43 and resulted largely in a patchwork of liability regimes. 44 As a result, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 45 analyzed and re-drafted several contentious 40. Montreal Minutes, supra note 13, at See David E. Rapoport & Hans Ephraimson-Abt, A 73-Year Odyssey: The Time Has Come for a New International Air Liability System, in ISSUES IN AVIATION LAW AND POLICY 22,151, at 22,161 (2002) (stating that before the new inter-carrier agreements, injustice in international air disaster litigation was too frequent, unreasonable delay too common, and unfair expenses too prevalent. ). 42. See, e.g., Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at *10 ( [W]hile airlines that have signed those agreements uniformly waive the Warsaw liability limits, they do not all accept strict liability up to 100,000 SDR. ). 43. See Rapoport & Ephraimson-Abt, supra note 41, at 22,167. Another problem is that nothing would stop some of the member airlines from withdrawing from the [agreement] on relatively short notice, returning to the pre-[agreement] justice travesty. What was needed when [the agreement] was signed is still needed today, a new binding treaty for all of the 189 countries that are members of ICAO, so that the benefits of the [agreement] can grow beyond a private agreement into a lasting international treaty and so that the flaws of the [agreement] can be rectified. Id. 44. Montreal Minutes, supra note 13, at 37. [T]he Warsaw System, a system of amending Protocols and supplementary instruments, whose complexity and degree of fragmentation has become wellknown to all of us... has been further extended by additional rules, regulations and industry-based solutions, some of which are regional in nature or scope. The result of these uncoordinated efforts is an increasingly opaque legal framework whose usefulness for the traveling public has become a matter of growing concern.... Id.; Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at *6; see also Montreal Minutes, supra note 13, at 38, 43, 200, The consequence of the studies initiated by the U.S. and subsequent consultations between the Major Allies was that the U.S. government extended an invitation to 55 States or authorities to attend, in November 1944, an International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago. Fifty-four States attended this Conference end [sic] of which a Convention on International Civil Aviation was signed by 52 States set up the permanent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a means to secure international co-operation an highest possible degree of uniformity in regulations and standards, procedures and organisation regarding civil aviation matters.
9 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1051 Warsaw provisions. Prominent among them was Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention: The carrier shall be liable for damage sustained in the event of the death or wounding of a passenger or any other bodily injury suffered by a passenger, if the accident which caused the damage so sustained took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. 46 ICAO s initial redraft added mental injury as a recoverable grievance and added a sentence excluding recovery based on preexisting health conditions: The carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury or mental injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the damage so sustained took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. However, the carrier is not liable if the death or injury resulted solely from the state of health of the passenger. 47 Subsequent drafts replaced bodily injury or mental injury with personal injury, but ultimately the ICAO submitted a proposal similar to the original and retained bodily injury without further modification. 48 In May 1999, the ICAO initiated another conference hoping to wholly replace Warsaw with a modernized uniform treaty. 49 More than 500 delegates representing 121 nations gathered in Montreal to negotiate. 50 Throughout eighteen days of debate, most delegates supported expanding a passenger s recovery beyond bodily injury, since that phrase from Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention implied the preclusion of mental or emotional injury. 51 Part IV of this paper Foundation of the International Civil Aviation Organization, goto_m.pl?icao/en/hist/history02.htm (last visited Sept. 27, 2008). 46. Warsaw Convention, supra note 2, art Ruwantissa I.R. Abeyratne, Mental Distress in Aviation Claims Emergent Trends, 65 J. AIR L. & COM. 225, (2000) (quoting Report of the Rapporteur on the Modernization and Consolidation of the Warsaw System AVIATION Q., July 1997, at 286, 313) (emphasis added). 48. See J. Brent Alldredge, Comment, Continuing Questions in Aviation Liability Law: Should Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention Be Construed to Encompass Physical Manifestations of Emotional and Mental Distress?, 67 J. AIR L. & COM. 1345, (2002). 49. See Ehrlich v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 360 F.3d 366, 371 n.4 (2d Cir. 2004) ( The Montreal Convention is the product of an effort by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, to reform the Warsaw Convention so as to harmonize the hodgepodge of supplementary amendments and intercarrier agreements of which the Warsaw Convention system of liability consists. (quoting Carl E. Fumarola, Note, Stratospheric Recovery: Recent and Forthcoming Changes in International Air Disaster Law and Its Effect on Air Terrorism Recovery, 36 SUFFOLK U. L. REV. 821, 835 (2003))). 50. See KRAUSE & KRAUSE, supra note 12, 11:13, 11: See generally Montreal Minutes, supra note 13.
10 1052 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 explores exactly what the delegates proposed and how despite a consensus for change the 1929 language remained unaltered. Although fifty-two countries, including the United States, signed the treaty in Montreal, 52 and although President Clinton submitted it to the Senate for ratification on September 6, 2000, it was not ratified until July 31, Based on the United States ratification, the treaty entered into force for all signatories on November 4, The new treaty instituted several broad changes to its 1929 predecessor, four of which are often cited: (1) the removal of all liability caps for bodily injury or death; 55 (2) the imposition of strict liability on carriers for the first $135,000 of proven damages for bodily injury or death; 56 (3) the expansion of jurisdiction, permitting suit in the passenger s homeland more readily; 57 and (4) the implementation of code-sharing responsibilities among carriers. 58 The new treaty, long overdue, is a step forward in modernizing international air travel. 59 But, by adhering to the 1929 rubric and allowing passenger recovery for bodily injury alone, the Montreal Convention left one foot in pre-lindbergh days. The original goal of protecting the fledgling airline industry is no longer germane, 60 because air travel is now demonstrably safer See Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * CONG. REC. S10, 870 (daily ed. July 31, 2003). 54. See Ehrlich, 360 F.3d at 372; see also International Civil Aviation Organization Memo on the Signature and Effective Dates for All Parties to the Montreal Treaty, (last visited Sept. 27, 2008). 55. Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air art. 21, May 28, 1999, S. TREATY DOC. NO (1999). 56. Id.; see also Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * Talbott Letter, supra note 14, at * Id. 59. Id. at *10. [T]he new Convention would represent the culmination of a four-decades long effort by the United States and other countries to persuade the international aviation community to provide increased economic protection for the international air traveler and shipper with a regime of liability and modernized procedures that match the developments in today s aviation industry. Id. 60. The Supreme Court has signaled that the policy concern for vulnerable, fledgling airlines may no longer be relevant. See El Al Isr. Airlines, Ltd. v. Tsui Yuan Tseng, 525 U.S. 155, 170 (1999) ( This exposure inhibited the growth of the thenfledgling international airline industry. ) (emphasis added); see also Tseng v. El Al Isr. Airlines, Ltd., 122 F.3d 99, 107 (2d Cir. 1997) (concluding that, with the increasing strength of the airline industry, the balance has properly shifted away from protecting the carrier and toward protecting the passenger ), rev d 525 U.S The fatality rate, one measure of airline safety, has improved dramatically since the time of the Warsaw Convention, to a rate of 0.02 fatalities per 100 million passenger kilometers in 2001 from 45 fatalities per 100 million passenger miles in See In re Aircrash in Bali, 684 F.2d 1301, 1310 (9th Cir. 1982); Press Release, International Civil Aviation Organization Preliminary Safety Statistics for Air Carrier
11 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1053 III. FRAGMENTED CASE LAW A. Before Floyd It was not until 1991 that the United States Supreme Court addressed the meaning of bodily injury, or lésion corporelle, 62 under the Warsaw Convention, and what recovery, if any, Warsaw allowed for mental or emotional injury. Before the Court s decision in Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd, lower courts were split. Most held that bodily injury included mental injury, but some required overt physical impact before considering mental injury. 63 For example, in Husserl v. Swiss Air Transport Co., 64 terrorists hijacked an airliner bound for New York and directed the pilot to land in the desert near Amman, Jordan. 65 Forced to remain in the plane for twenty-four hours, the passengers were then shuttled over the next seven days from Jordan to Cyprus before finally arriving in New York. 66 The claimant did not allege that she was injured by any physical impact to her body; she asserted only that the mental trauma of the hijacking experience, apparently including to some extent the detention in Amman... caused various mental and psychosomatic injuries The court closely inspected the language, history, case law, drafters intent, and policy informing Article 17 before concluding that bodily injury comprehends mental and psychosomatic injuries: Operations in 2001 (Apr. 9, 2002), available at pio200205_e.pdf. 62. The governing text of the Warsaw Convention is in French. See Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S. 392, (1985). Article 17 provides: Le transporteur est responsable du dommage survenu en cas de mort, de blessure ou de toute autre lésion corporelle subie par un voyageur lorsque l'accident qui a causé le dommage s'est produit à bord de l'aéronef ou au cours de toutes opérations d'embarquement et de débarquement. Id. at 397 (citing Warsaw Convention, supra note 2). 63. See John F. Easton et al., Post Traumatic Lésion Corporelle : A Continuum of Bodily Injury Under the Warsaw Convention, 68 J. AIR L. & COM. 665, 675 (2003) (noting a host of trial courts [that] permit damages for purely emotional injury ). Compare Burnett v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 368 F. Supp. 1152, 1158 (D.N.M. 1973) (holding that purely psychic trauma is not compensable under Article 17), and Rosman v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 314 N.E.2d 848, 859 (N.Y. 1974) (same), with Floyd v. E. Airlines, Inc., 872 F.2d 1462, 1490 (11th Cir. 1989) (allowing recovery for mental injury), rev d, 499 U.S. 530 (1991), Karfunkel v. Compagnie Nationale Air France, 427 F. Supp. 971, (S.D.N.Y. 1977) (same), Krystal v. British Overseas Airways Corp., 403 F. Supp. 1322, 1324 (C.D. Cal. 1975) (same), Husserl v. Swiss Air Transport Co., 388 F. Supp. 1238, 1253 (S.D.N.Y. 1975) (same), Borham v. Pan Am.World Airways, No. 85 Civ. 6822, 1986 WL 2974, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 5, 1986) (same), Gilbert v. Pan American World Airways, No. 85 Civ. 4157, 1989 WL 59623, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 1989) (same), and Palagonia v. Trans World Airlines, 442 N.Y.S.2d 670, 671 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1978) (same) F. Supp (S.D.N.Y. 1975). 65. Id. at Id. 67. Id.
12 1054 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 [T]here is absolutely no indication in either the language of the Convention or its legislative history that the drafters intended to preclude all liability for some types of injury. 68 The court made several observations: (1) in many instances including the Guatemala City Protocol and the margin of the text ratified by the U.S. Senate personal injury was substituted for bodily injury; 69 (2) [d]eath, wounding, and bodily injury in English or in French can... easily... all be construed to relate to emotional and mental injury ; 70 (3) medical science increasingly recognizes that injuries are not prone to categorization as either mental or physical; 71 and (4) while the Warsaw drafters intent as to mental injury under Article 17 was unclear, arbitrarily parsing physical from mental injury would undermine their efforts to ensure the uniformity and comprehensive reach of the Convention. 72 Only the final observation persuaded the court to allow the plaintiff s claim. 73 This analysis conflicts sharply with a New York Court of Appeals decision that evaluated nearly identical facts but arrived at the opposite result. In Rosman v. Trans World Airlines, a decision issued less than one year before Husserl, the court read bodily injury to require palpable, objective bodily injuries. 74 The claimants, a Jewish mother and her two young children, were on the same hijacked flight as the Husserl claimant. Confined to their seats, subjected to extreme temperatures and inadequate food and water, and fearful for their lives, the claimants alleged severe psychic trauma... [w]hile none of them allege[d] to have been shot, struck, or personally assaulted The airline argued that injury resulting from psychic trauma alone is not bodily injury and that the claimants physical injuries did not result from any physical impact or, if they did, the injuries were so slight as not to amount to compensable bodily injury. The highest court in New York agreed, for the most part: The inclusion of the term bodily to modify injury cannot be ignored, and in its ordinary usage, the term bodily suggests opposition to mental. 76 The ordinary meaning of bodily injury connotes [a] palpable, conspicuous 68. Id. at Id. at ( The original English translation which the Senate ratified uses personal injuries as a descriptive marginal note for Article 17. (citing Warsaw Convention, supra note 2)). 70. Id. at Id. ( [M]ental reactions and functions are merely more subtle and less well understood physiological phenomena than the physiological phenomena associated with the functioning of the tissues and organs and with physical trauma. ). 72. Id. 73. Id N.E.2d 848, 850 (N.Y. 1974). 75. Id. 76. Id. at 855.
13 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1055 physical injury[,] and excludes mental injury with no observable bodily, as distinguished from behavioral, manifestations. 77 Even so, the court left open recovery for mental injury that manifested itself in physical injury. Severe fright from an in-flight accident that in turn caused or aggravated a skin rash, for example, would fall within the bounds of Article That question whether recovery is allowed under Warsaw for mental injury manifesting itself in bodily injury was precisely the issue in Salerno v. Pan American World Airways, in which the claimant alleged that a bomb threat caused her miscarriage. 79 No physical or bodily injury precipitated the miscarriage, only the passenger s fear of the threatened bomb. 80 Pan American apparently did not raise as a defense that Salerno suffered no physical injury or that the miscarriage was merely a physical manifestation of a purely mental injury. This omission illustrates how litigants and courts, prior to Floyd and in the wake of cases like Husserl and Rosman, approached recovery under Article B. Floyd The Supreme Court finally weighed in on the meaning and reach of bodily injury in the landmark case Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd. 82 En route from Miami to the Bahamas, one of the airplane s three engines lost oil pressure. 83 The crew had shut down the engine and headed back to Miami when the second and third engines failed. 84 Without power, the plane s altitude plummeted and the crew announced they would have to make an emergency landing in the Atlantic Ocean. 85 Eventually the crew managed to restart the engine 77. Id. 78. Id. at 856 ( If the accident the hijacking caused severe fright, which in turn manifested itself in some objective bodily injury, then we would conclude that the Convention s requirement of the causal connection is satisfied. ) F. Supp. 656, 657 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). 80. Id. The first of two jury questions asked: Do you find that the plaintiff Onna Lil Salerno has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the events aboard Pan Am Flight # 441 on August 24, 1981 and at the Miami Airport on August 25 proximately caused her miscarriage and/or emotional injury and distress? Id. 81. See, e.g., Krystal v. British Overseas Airways Corp., 403 F. Supp. 1322, (C.D. Cal. 1975) (dealing with passenger in hijacked flight who alleged mental distress unaccompanied by physical injury). The court, noting the United States threatened denunciation of the Warsaw Convention and dissatisfaction with the limits on recovery under Warsaw, held that the effect of the  Montreal Agreement is to permit recovery for mental distress[,] and even though some courts have reached contrary conclusions[,]... such interpretations of Art. 17 are untenable. Id U.S. 530 (1991). 83. Id. at Id. 85. Id.
14 1056 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 that had initially failed and return safely to Miami. 86 The passengers sought damages solely for mental distress. 87 The Court began its analysis with the tenets of treaty interpretation, emphasizing the liberal construction afforded treaties as opposed to private agreements. 88 To effectuate the policies behind the treaty, a court may look beyond the written words to the treaty s history, negotiations among the signatories, and interpretations by signatories and courts. 89 Because the treaty was written in French, the Court looked first to French law, noting that in 1929, the year Warsaw was drafted, little legislation, judicial precedent, or scholarly writing demonstrated that bodily injury had a meaning in French law that encompassed mental injuries. 90 Even though some French law allowed recovery for mental injury in limited instances, the Court emphasized that a cause of action arising from pure mental injury would not have been recognized in many other countries represented at Warsaw in The Court then delved into Warsaw s negotiation history, noting that the documentary records confirmed that neither the drafters nor the signatories had specifically considered liability for mental injury. 92 From this, the Court inferred that the drafters most likely would have felt compelled to make an unequivocal reference to purely mental injury had they intended to allow it. 93 Finally, the Court emphasized the 1929 policy behind Warsaw to favor and protect the fledgling airline industry: Whatever may be the current view among Convention signatories, in 1929 the parties were more concerned with protecting air carriers and fostering a new industry than providing full recovery to injured passengers The Court did take notice of contrary evidence, including: (1) the 1951 proposal to substitute affection corporelle for lésion corporelle ; and (2) references in the Hague Protocol of 1955, the Montreal Agreement of 1966, and the Guatemala City Protocol of 86. Id. 87. Id. 88. Id. at Id. at 535 (quoting Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S. 392, 396 (1985)). 90. Id. at Id. at 540, ( Indeed, the unavailability of compensation for purely psychic injury in many common and civil law countries at the time of the Warsaw Conference persuades us that the signatories had no specific intent to include such a remedy in the Convention. ). Although the official German translation of lésion corporelle adopted by Austria, Germany, and Switzerland used German terms whose closest English translation is apparently infringement on the health, the Court was understandably reluctant to place much weight on an English translation of a German translation of a French text. Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at 546.
15 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION to personal injury rather than bodily injury. 95 But the Court noted that the Hague Protocol referred to personal injury only in the context of giving passengers notice of Warsaw s liability limits. 96 Further, the Montreal Agreement of 1966 did not and could not purport to speak for the Warsaw signatories because it was not a treaty but merely an agreement among the major international air carriers. 97 Finally, the Guatemala City Protocol was not in effect in the international arena because only a few countries had ratified it, and it could not be considered dispositive in the United States as it had not been ratified by the Senate. 98 As a result, the Court credited no evidence that any of the agreements subsequent to Warsaw were intended to effect a substantive change in, or clarification of, Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention. 99 Importantly, the Court limited its review to purely mental injury, leaving unanswered questions regarding recovery for mental injury accompanied by physical injury, as well as questions regarding mental injury that later manifests itself as physical injury: [W]e express no view as to whether passengers can recover for mental injuries that are accompanied by physical injuries. 100 C. After Floyd Floyd established a precedent for purely mental injury under Warsaw. 101 In a case out of Australia, the Court of Appeal of New South Wales followed Floyd and refused recovery for a claimant who alleged purely mental injury after an in-flight engine fire caused the aircraft to turn back. 102 Like Floyd, the Australian court left open the possibility that recovery might be available where psychological injury was accompanied by physical injury. 103 However, a spate of divergent lower court opinions in the United States quickly emerged regarding whether recovery for mental injury 95. Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at ; see also McCaskey v. Cont l Airlines, Inc., 159 F. Supp. 2d 562, 575 (S.D. Tex. 2001) ( Thus, while the decision clearly bars recovery for purely mental injuries, it did not address (1) whether mental injuries could be recovered by a person who had also been physically injured, and also arguably left open (2) whether a person could recover for mental injuries having physical manifestations. ) See, e.g., Terrafranca v. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd., 151 F.3d 108 (3d Cir. 1998); Grimes v. Nw. Airlines, Inc., No. 98-CV-4794, 1999 WL , at *2 (E.D. Pa. July 30, 1999), aff d without opinion, 216 F.3d 1076 (3d Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 879 (2000) Kotsambasis v. Sing. Airlines, Ltd. (1997) 140 F.L.R. 318, 323 (Austl.), available at Id.
16 1058 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 accompanied by physical injury is available under Warsaw. Attempting to alleviate the apparent inequity implicit in a bodily injury prerequisite, some courts stretched their analysis to find an adequate accompanying physical injury. Others drew a more narrow line, requiring that the mental injury flow directly from the bodily injury in order to recover. The bodily injury requirement and the Supreme Court s limited interpretation of it spawned a disjointed and fragmented progeny. 1. Bending Over Backwards After the Supreme Court s directive excluding recovery for pure mental injury under Warsaw, several courts scrambled to find a physical injury sufficient to justify mental injury recovery. In Weaver v. Delta Airlines, the claimant alleged that she was terrified during an emergency landing and consequently had to seek treatment for emotional and physical injuries attributable to the accident. 104 She was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and she argued at trial that recent medical developments had shown that extreme stress causes actual physical brain damage, i.e., physical destruction or atrophy of portions of the hippocampus of the brain. 105 While it is questionable whether such an analysis would survive a Daubert gatekeeping challenge, 106 the court concluded that the expert affidavits created an issue of fact sufficient to survive summary judgment. 107 In Chendrimada v. Air India, the claimants rescheduled flight was delayed in Delhi for almost twelve hours due to weather conditions. 108 Claimants alleged they suffered injuries including F. Supp. 2d 1190, (D. Mont. 1999) Id A Daubert gatekeeping challenge is a test federal courts use to determine whether expert testimony is admissible. It generally requires that expert testimony will assist the fact-finder in understanding the evidence or determining a factual issue based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, , 597 (1993) Weaver, 56 F. Supp. 2d at ; see also Carey v. United Airlines, 255 F.3d 1044, 1053 n.47 (9th Cir. 2001) (noting another case that held that PTSD is a bodily injury for purposes of Warsaw and left open the possibility that there could be recovery for egregious incidents of intentional misconduct where there is no concrete or visible bodily injury ); Turturro v. Continental Airlines, 128 F. Supp. 2d 170, (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (noting that in a different context PTSD may fall within Warsaw s definition of bodily injury). But see Bobian v. Czech Airlines, 93 F. App x 406, 407 (3d Cir. 2004), aff g 232 F. Supp. 2d 319 (D.N.J. 2002). The Bobian court declined to apply the reasoning in Turturro, and concluded instead that PTSD is purely an emotional injury, despite plaintiffs attempt to characterize PTSD in terms of its effect on the brain. Id. at 326. PTSD is not compensable under the Warsaw Convention, and no expert re-characterization of emotional injury or correlation of it with physical manifestations will permit recovery for such injury.... Id. at F. Supp. 1089, 1090 (S.D.N.Y. 1992).
17 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1059 nausea, severe cramps, pain and anguish, malnutrition, and mental injury due to confinement in the plane without food. 109 The court found that these bodily injuries satisfied the requirements of Floyd namely that they alleged a physical injury or a manifestation of physical injury. 110 The court concluded that the manifestation of physical injury need not result from a suddenly inflicted trauma, but may, as is alleged here, result from other causes for which the carrier is responsible. 111 Similarly, Ratnaswamy v. Air Afrique 112 echoes the premise that compensable bodily injury need not be based on physical impact but may arise after a delay that leads to such physical manifestations of injury as nausea and diarrhea. 113 In the United Kingdom, the House of Lords allowed recovery for physical manifestations of a mental injury so long as the mental injury causing the physical symptoms was itself caused by the accident. In King v. Bristow Helicopters Ltd., the claimant alleged mental injuries as well as a peptic ulcer after a crash landing in a helicopter. 114 Permitting recovery for the ulcer but not the mental injuries which prompted it, the House of Lords held that no recovery is available for mental injury absent physical symptoms. 115 Courts also appear to stretch to satisfy the bodily injury requirement when faced with allegations of mental injury before or concurrent with physical impact. While several courts have held that claimants can only recover for mental injury that directly flows from bodily injury under Floyd, 116 others have allowed recovery for mental injuries that arose prior to or simultaneously with bodily injury Id. at Id Id. But see Carey, 255 F.3d at (holding passenger s claims of nausea, cramps, perspiration, nervousness, tension, and sleeplessness did not meet bodily injury under Warsaw) No. 95C7670, 1998 WL , at *6 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 3, 1998) Id.; see also Lobb v. United Airlines, Inc., No , 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 17495, at *9 10 (9th Cir. July 8, 1993) (showing that a court affirmed an award of $10,000 (Aus.) for emotional distress even though the claimant sustained only minor scratches). The emotional damages included fear of flying. Lobb, 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 17495, at * Importantly, the court was reviewing the adequacy of the amount, not whether Warsaw permitted the recovery. Id (2002) 1 Lloyd s Rep. 745, 745 (H.L.) (U.K.) Id. at 746; see also Sidhu v. British Airways, (1997) 2 Lloyd s Rep. 76 (H.L.) (U.K.). In Sidhu, claimants alleged mental and bodily injury including weight loss, eczema, and excessive menstrual bleeding after being taken hostage in Kuwait by Iraqis during the first Gulf War. Id. at 77. Although claimants argued that their mental injuries were sufficient to permit recovery, the House of Lords did not decide that issue. Id. at 77, See, e.g., Ehrlich v. Am. Airlines, 360 F.3d 366, 400 (2d Cir. 2004); In re Air Crash at Little Rock, Ark., on June 1, 1999, 291 F.3d 503, (8th Cir. 2002), cert. denied sub nom., Lloyd v. American Airlines, Inc., 537 U.S. 974 (2002); Ligeti v. British Airways PLC, No. 00 CIV (FM), 2001 WL , at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 5, 2001); Alvarez v. Am. Airlines, No. 98 Civ (MBM), 1999 WL , at *3 5 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 1999); Longo v. Air France, No. 95 CV 0292 BDD, 1996 WL , at *2
18 1060 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 In In re Aircrash Disaster near Roselawn, Ind., all sixty-eight persons on board died when an American Eagle flight crashed. 117 The airline argued that Warsaw prohibits recovery for pre-impact fear, contending that pre-impact fear is a purely psychic injury, and that the recovery of damages for such injuries is foreclosed by Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd. 118 But the court held otherwise, explaining that Floyd did not entirely preclude recovery for purely psychic injuries under Article 17; instead, the court asserted, Floyd artfully held that bodily injury was a precondition to liability: Nothing in Floyd states that once that precondition is met, and physical injury or death is present, damages for mental distress are not available. 119 The Roselawn court acknowledged a slew of rulings to the contrary, 120 but it rejected the narrow construction adopted in those cases, stating that: Article 17 itself expressly requires a causal link only between damage sustained and the accident..., not... that a carrier will only be liable for damage caused by a bodily injury, or that passengers can only recover for mental injuries if they are caused by bodily injuries. 121 In In re Korean Air Lines Disaster of Sept. 1, 1983, the court awarded damages for emotional injury that was accompanied by, but not caused by, simultaneous physical injury. 122 When a Soviet missile shot down an international flight, claimants sought damages for predeath pain and suffering. 123 The court found that passengers were alive and conscious for about eleven minutes after the initial missile strike. 124 Acknowledging that, under Floyd, damages for mental anguish were not recoverable absent physical injury, the court awarded damages for the decedents mental anguish because the evidence showed that they sustained physical injury due to rapid air (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 1996); Wencelius v. Air France, No. SACV AHS (EEX), 1996 WL , at *1 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 29, 1996); Jack v. Trans World Airlines, 854 F. Supp. 654, (N.D. Cal. 1994) F. Supp. 175, 176 (N.D. Ill. 1997) Id. at Id. at Id. at (citing, inter alia, Jack, 854 F. Supp. 654 ( Warsaw Convention plaintiffs could recover only for physical injuries and the emotional distress flowing from those injuries )); accord Longo, 1996 WL , at *2 3; Wencelius, 1996 WL , at *1; In re Inflight Explosion on Trans World Airlines, Inc. Aircraft Approaching Athens, Greece on April 2, 1986, 778 F. Supp. 625, (E.D.N.Y. 1991), rev d on other grounds sub nom. Ospina v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 975 F.2d 35 (2d Cir. 1992); Burnett v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 368 F. Supp. 1152, (D.N.M. 1973) In re Aircrash Disaster near Roselawn, Ind., 954 F. Supp. 175, 179 (N.D. Ill. 1997) F. Supp. 592 (E.D. Mich. 1993) Id. at Id. at 598.
19 2008] MENTAL INJURY UNDER THE MONTREAL CONVENTION 1061 decompression. 125 According to the court, the fact that the emotional injury was accompanied by physical injury and that the decedents suffering was likely considerable made the case vastly different from Floyd. 126 Several other decisions arising out of the same flight reached similar results. 127 Notably, recovery for mental injury sustained prior to or simultaneously with bodily injury is not restricted to wrongful death. In Gilbert v. Pan American World Airways, a pre-floyd case, the court upheld a $25,000 award for emotional distress and mental anguish prior to the impact upon her of the runaway bar cart. 128 The claimant was not killed by the runaway bar cart, but the court noted that recovery for fear of death does not require actualization of that fear. 129 Not only have courts allowed mental injury recovery without overt bodily impact, several have also permitted recovery for nonpassengers suffering mental injury due to a relative s physical injury. In one instance, an emergency landing allegedly caused traumatic brain injury that exacerbated a previous condition and eventually led to the passenger s death. 130 Without discussion, the court allowed the passenger s wife who was not on the flight to pursue damages for her own mental anguish. 131 In another case, the court refused to dismiss a non-passenger s claim for loss of consortium after his wife allegedly sustained physical injury from an in-flight coffee spill Id Id See, e.g., Oldham v. Korean Air Lines Co., 127 F.3d 43 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (affirming jury award for pre-death pain and suffering for passengers who were killed as expert testimony showed they could have survived initial explosion and experienced both physical and mental pain with the rapid decrease in cabin air pressure); Bickel v. Korean Air Lines Co., 96 F.3d 151 (6th Cir. 1996) (permitting recovery for pre-death pain and suffering because airline waived its challenge); Jones v. Korean Air Lines Co., 836 F. Supp (E.D. Mich. 1993) (awarding loss of society damages but denying mental anguish damages to passenger s son). But see Dooley v. Korean Air Lines Co., 524 U.S. 116 (1998) (holding that Warsaw is a pass-through treaty and that the relevant domestic law, the Death on the High Seas Act, bars recovery for decedent s pre-death pain and suffering); Saavedra v. Korean Air Lines Co., 93 F.3d 547 (9th Cir. 1996) No. 85 Civ (CSA), 1989 WL 59623, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 1989) Id. Conversely, the court in In re Air Crash off Point Mugu, Cal. on Jan. 30, 2000, held that, despite a disaster that killed all on board, any recovery for mental injury must flow directly from a physical injury. 145 F. Supp. 2d 1156, 1162 (N.D. Cal. 2000); see also In re Inflight Explosion on Trans World Airlines, Inc. Aircraft Approaching Athens, Greece on Apr. 2, 1986, 778 F. Supp. 625, 639 (E.D.N.Y. 1991) (stating that because claimant suffered bodily injury that then caused psychic harm, award of damages was appropriate), rev d on other grounds sub nom. Ospina v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 975 F.2d 35 (2d Cir. 1992) Hunt v. Taca Int l. Airlines, Inc., No. Civ. A , 1997 WL , at *1 (E.D. La. Nov. 17, 1997) Id. at * Diaz Lugo v. Am. Airlines Inc., 686 F. Supp. 373, 376 (D.P.R. 1988).
20 1062 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 41:1043 The airline argued that it was only liable for damages sustained by the passenger, but the court read Article 17 more broadly and refused to dismiss the husband s claim. 133 In yet another case, a passenger died of a stroke allegedly caused by an in-flight accident; in the subsequent legal action, the court denied the airline s bid for summary judgment as to his wife s mental injury claim, holding that the husband s physical injury satisfied the bodily injury requirement. 134 In further illustration of the incongruent case law, however, many courts have held that recovery is not available in such situations. 135 Finally, the Supreme Court of Israel addressed this question and permitted recovery for purely mental injury under Article Claimants sued for mental injuries stemming from the hijacking and detention of their flight. 137 The Israeli Court pointed to the extensive development of the aviation industry coupled with the evolution of U.S. and Israeli law allowing recovery for mental injury in certain circumstances. 138 It further sought to avoid conflict with the 1971 Guatemala City Protocol, which substituted personal injury for bodily injury. 139 As this case was decided before Floyd, the Floyd Court addressed but rejected these arguments as irrelevant to the signatories intent. 140 These cases reflect dissatisfaction with the threshold requirement of bodily injury. Unwilling to refuse recovery for 133. Id. at McCaskey v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 159 F. Supp. 2d 562, 576 (S.D. Tex. 2001) ( Mr. McCaskey s physical injury, if caused by an accident satisfies the gateway bodily injury requirement. ); see also Blansett v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 204 F. Supp. 2d 999, 1002 (S.D. Tex. 2002) ( [T]he Court interprets Zicherman [Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co., 516 U.S. 217 (1996)] to permit non-passenger plaintiffs to bring any claims otherwise allowed under the applicable domestic law. ) See Hollie v. Korean Air Lines Co., 60 F.3d 90, 95 (2d Cir. 1995), cert. granted, vacated, 516 U.S (1996) (stating that loss of society damages is a form of positive damages, but mental anguish or grief damages are emotional responses to wrongful death); Croucher v. Worldwide Flight Serv., Inc., 111 F. Supp. 2d 501, (D.N.J. 2000) (dismissing husband s loss of consortium claims for wife s alleged injury since neither the husband nor wife proved the requisite bodily harm); Aragon v. Am. Airlines, No CIV., 1997 WL , at *1 3 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 8, 1997) (dismissing without discussion passenger s sister s claims for mental pain and suffering, loss of society, guidance, and services); Jones v. Korean Air Lines Co., 836 F. Supp. 1340, (E.D. Mich. 1993) (denying relief to son for mental anguish over mother s death in airline accident but endorsing son s recovery for loss of society); cf. In re Air Crash on Dec. 20, 1995 near Cali, California, No. 96-MD-1125, 1998 WL , at *3 n.5 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 8, 1998) (denying relief for plaintiff s mental pain and suffering due to plaintiff s concession of issue) King v. Bristow Helicopters Ltd., (2002) 1 Lloyd s Rep. 745, 769 (H.L.) (U.K.) (construing Daddon v. Air France, 1 S. & B. Av. R. 141 (1984) (Isr.)) Id Id Id. at See E. Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd, 499 U.S. 530, (1991).